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What the fuck we can do about Aleppo? A starter guide.

Anna Nolan
Dec 14, 2016 · 5 min read

Tens of thousands of people are trapped in Aleppo. The Assad regime & Iranian militias, with Russian air support, are attacking the remaining civilians who had hoped to be evacuated today. Cluster bombs are raining down on around 80,000 people stuck in a 1.5 km² area. Amongst those still trapped are the heroic White Helmets, doctors and journalists who all remained to continue to protect and serve.

We have no magic button for Aleppo. But we know that leaders in Europe and America have power to end this conflict that they’re not using. We also know that the only way anything changes is if we change it. Can any of us say we’ve done everything?

So if you share a belief in human rights, if your heart and head are sore thinking about the children trapped there, if you want to help, read this list, share it.

Syrians have done all they can to save each other. Do whatever you can to support their struggle for freedom.


Call, email and visit your elected official. For years we’ve been told they don’t think anyone cares about Syria. In fact that for them to do anything is a ‘net loss’. Tell them you care. Ask them: Have they used every ounce of power putting pressure on Russia? Have they kicked Russian Embassy’s out of the country? Have they put in place sanctions on Russia? Why are they not using the same jets that they’re dropping bombs on ISIS to protect civilians?

Get on the streets. Here’s a list of protests. Don’t see one near you? Start one.

Convert your friends. Share content on Syria from Syrians. Make everyone you know watch this film on the White Helmets.

Open your wallet. It won’t stop the bombs but the Syrians left struggling to save the lives the world are unable to need every penny you can give. Here’s a some fucking heroes — the White Helmets that pull babies from under the rubble and medics that risk their lives to save others. Whether it’s 5 or 5000 give whatever is possible. Every penny goes to saving lives.

Direct Action What’s happening is an outrage and there is nothing that would be ‘too much’ to match it. Climb a building. Block the entrance to the Russian Embassy. Stop traffic. Drop banners.


I’ve met many hand wringing politicians. I watched them avoid the eyes of Syria’s heroes who ask them, plead with them to stop the bombs. This list isn’t about the policy intricacies, they’re covered elsewhere. It’s about things they can to match the scale of the crisis.

Walk out. Parliament European and US Govts are complicity in this genocide. Walk out. Protest. Use your profile to get this onto a front page.

Call out your Leader. If the leader of your party is not doing everything they can or should call them out. Write an oped. Make a speech. You are part of the party, use your influence.

Join a Protest. Why are you not on the streets? Find your nearest protest. Join them. Chant. Dance. Be a person.


Pray. No matter your faith come together and pray for the souls.

Ring your Bells. In Norway churches started ringing their bells once a day for Syria. Do the same. Tell people why you’re doing it.

Talk about it in your service. Whatever the format of your worship discuss Aleppo. Share stories.

Make statements. Tell the world about what is happening in Syria. Ask for it to stop.


In the Syrian revolution they were hubs for imagining a better and free Syria. University campuses have long been the site of social change. Don’t let that stop now.

Organise on campus. Hold a rally on. Engage your fellow students. Send messages of support.

Lobby your University. Universities have a huge profile. Ask your university to condemn these attacks in a public statement. Get their media and press team on this.

Scholarships. Join the Books not Bombs campaign to ask for scholarships for Syria students.


We know you joined the UN to make the world a better place. Despite the heroic efforts of many staff The United Nations (UN) in Syria is in serious breach of the humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality. Furthermore, the UN Security Council’s inability to make progress is undermining the power of the very institution we need most.

Walk out. Show your leadership that you can not and will not continue with business as usual.If you can organise a group and do it together even better. Press release it to the media.

Raise your concerns. Not ready to walk out? Email your concerns. Talk about it.

Quit. You might feel much better .


You carry the most moral authority in the countries you’re headquartered. You can get the attention of the media and politicians. Sadly far too many of you are doing far too little to stop the killing in Syria.

Get on TV. Why are the heads of the orgs not on the TV calling out this catastrophe.

Support Syrians. All these INGOS don’t have staff in Syria. They use local partners, the same partners know being bombed, shelled and starved to death. Support them. Shout about their work. Demand the same safety you would for your Western staff.

Travel to the border. Go and meet the Syrian organisations you fund. Listen to them. Take their stories back to your country and repeat them to every Government minister you can find.

Protest. Take to the streets. Add your name. Add your voice.


In Syria, hospitals have become targets for the Syrian Government and its ally Russia. As medics come under fire in the most dangerous place on earth stand with them.

Donate your time. Syrian medical organisations are creaking, donate your time to them by travelling to volunteer with them in the region.

Speak Out. You’re a respected member of your community, write to your elected representative, your local media or medical journals. A Syrian doctor would do the same for you.

Send messages of support. Aleppo’s remaining doctors are sending messages on Twitter and Facebook. Let them know you’re there.

Donate. Aleppo’s heroic doctors and nurses are fundraising to build a new hospital in Aleppo. Give what you can.

I’m sure many, many other people have better ideas. This is just a humble offering of mine.

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